A Progress Report on Cross-Platform Measurement

Coalition promises a 'UPC code for media'

We're inching closer to a world where advertisers can accurately measure results across devices and media, according to presentations today by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement. The group, which includes content producers, media buyers, and advertisers, offered updates on two initiatives that it says should reach fruition next year.

First, Jim Spaeth of the Media Behavior Institute offered a peek at the results from the USA TouchPoints study, which uses iPhones to track consumer media behavior throughout the day. Comparing "tech-forward" to "tech-averse" consumers, Spaeth said that techies are more likely to visit bars and restaurants, to feel both excited and bored, and to communicate through social networking. One counterintuitive finding: Tech-forward respondents were actually less likely to watch movies and television on mobile devices because they prefer to watch online from their computers.

Next, David Kohl from Ernst & Young talked about TAXI, which stands for "trackable asset cross-platform identifier." As more media gets shared across more platforms, it becomes harder for content producers to know who's watching and where, which in turn makes it harder to make money from that content or to even feel comfortable allowing people to share it. There are plenty of digital watermarking services available now, Kohl said, but they aren't "open" or "interoperable." That's what TAXI should be—a "UPC code for media."

Following the presentations, a panel of media researchers spoke about the importance of CIMM's efforts. Beth Uyenco, global research director at Microsoft, said that too many of today's online advertising metrics are drawn from television, which is a passive experience, rather than accounting for the different kinds of interactions possible online.

"The complexity of consumers using new media cannot be accounted for," Uyenco said.